What is AWR?
AWR means The Agency Workers Regulations 2010. The regulations took effect from 1st October 2011. These regulations give temporary agency workers in all sectors the entitlement to the same basic employment and working conditions as if they had been recruited directly, if and when they complete a qualifying period of 12 weeks in the same job, with the same hirer. The Regulations also mean agency workers are eligible for certain rights straight away (‘Day 1’ rights).
The Regulations are very complex and have had to be clarified for schools and supply teachers by guidance notes issued by the DFE. Even now, areas of both the Regulations and the Guidance Notes remain ambiguous, contradictory and open to different interpretations.
This is normal for all new regulations, particularly relating to employment law across multiple sectors, and things will only become clearer once they have been tested in an employment tribunal and precedents have been set. For supply teachers, this may take months to happen, or it may never happen at all.
Who is the hirer?
According to the DFE guidelines, the definition ofthe hirer " is to be determined in each case and depends on to whom the worker is supplied and who supervises and directs that person’s work."
We will define the hirer as an individual school in all cases, based on the fact that schools are responsible for "supervising and directing the agency worker while they undertake the assignment".
What are Day 1 rights
Day 1 rights cover two main areas:
1) equal access to facilities with comparable employees and
2) information about permanent vacancies with the hirer
Facilities will vary from school to school and may include:
- A canteen or other similar facilities
- Transport services (eg. pick-ups from stations if provided)
- Staff common room
- Waiting room
- Prayer room
- Food and drinks machines
- Car parking (subject to availability of space)
For permanent vacancies, all agency workers will be entitled to be provided with information about any relevant job vacancies within the hirer that would be available to a comparable employee or worker. Schools can choose how to publicise vacancies (eg. via the internet/intranet or on a notice board in a communal area), but the agency worker should know where and how to access this information.
What happens after 12 weeks?
The 12 week qualifying period is triggered by working in the same job with the same hirer for 12 calendar weeks. A calendar week is any period of seven days starting with the first day of an assignment. Important things to note:
An agency worker can qualify for equal treatment after 12 weeks in the same role with the same hirer, regardless of whether they have been supplied by more than one agency over the course of that period of time.
Calendar weeks will be accrued regardless of how many hours the worker does on a weekly basis. Even if the booking constitutes only a couple of hours a week, it will still count as a week and they will still be entitled to equal treatment after 12 calendar weeks.
How is "equal pay" calculated ?
Equal pay for supply staff is determined by using comparable pay to those employed directly by the school – a comparator. The comparator rate we use for ourworkers will depend on the role we are filling and will most likely fall into one of three categories:
- Qualified teachers not undertaking a full classroom teacher role (“supply cover”)
- Qualified teachers undertaking a full classroom teacher role (“teaching cover”)
- Unqualified teachers, cover supervisors and support staff
What is a 'full classroom teacher role'?
We define a full classroom teacher role as one that includes all aspects of "specified work".
According to the DFE supplementary guidance on AWR, specified work means“planning, preparing and delivering lessons and courses to pupils and assessing and reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils”.
Can schools switch out workers/change bookings before people hit the 12-week threshold ?
Yes. Schools are able to manage bookings according to need and budget.
The Regulations do contain 'anti-avoidance' measures to protect individual workers from being repeatedly taken out of bookings with the same hirer as they approach the threshold, and then re-booked for another period of 12 weeks after 6 weeks have elapsed. However, there is nothing to stop a school using a different agency worker every 12 weeks.
Can teachers opt out of their AWR rights to keep working ?
No. The Regulations do not allow for any opt outs.
How will I know when I’m approaching 12 weeks in a school ?
GSL Education tracksall qualifying weeks for you, and informsindividual schools in plenty of time when thresholds are being approached.
What information do I need to provide GSL Education ?
GSL Education will need to know information about your pay scale.
Will there be an increase in my pay rate ?
If the school has specified a scale pay rate for the rolewhere the daily equivalent rate is higher than you are currently being paid upon commencing the booking, your pay ratemust be increased after 12 weeks.Your consultant can clarify this for you upon commencement of the booking.
How can I find out more information ?
Any workers wishing to discuss their treatment under AWR in further detail should make a formal enquiry via email to their consultant.